The two-year struggle of Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools had pretrial hearings in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in New York City Thursday. The lawsuit involves three cisgender girls represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom against two transgender girls now in college.
Prior to the start of the hearing, a contingent of athletes backed by the ACLU posted a video across social media in a show of support for Andrea Yearwood and Terry Miller, the two since-graduated transgender girls named as defendants in the case.
OL Reign and USA national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, retired Team USA soccer midfielder Lori Lindsay, WNBA players Jasmine Thomas and Layshia Clarendon and athlete-advocate Chris Mosier participated in the short video reaffirming support for the defendants and calling for continued protection for trans youth.
“I know first-hand the threats that women’s sports faces in the country and around the world,” Thomas stated in the video. “The inclusion of trans girls is not one of them.”
The 27-minute appeals hearing centered around matters of proper redress for the plaintiffs. Attorneys for the ADF argue that a trial is needed to discuss the matter of state championships won by both Yearwood and Miller. ADF senior council Roger Brooks stated that their wins should disallowed and all records changed on the contention that their participation was in violation of Title IX.
“These young women saw meet after meet those born female in the state of Connecticut didn’t have an equal chance,” Brooks said. “Their little sisters standing on the sideline saw meet after meet that those born female didn’t have an equal chance to win. That is contrary to the very heart of Title IX.”
Attorneys for the defense contend that the ADF’s attempts to tie Title IX to their viewpoints are erroneous, and cite recent decisions in a number of cases surrounding the rights of transgender Americans in recent years.
“Plaintiff’s complaint is based on the false legal premise that Title IX creates a false definition of sex that invalidates the anti-discrimination laws of every state within this circuit and requires schools to treat transgender girls as cisgender boys.” ACLU attorney Joshua Block noted in the proceedings. “Every court to consider the topic of transgender athletes has said the exact opposite. They’ve held that Title IX requires schools to treat transgender students consistent with their identity.”
The current lawsuit is an appeal on a decision rendered in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut last year. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed the suit on the grounds that all the main parties had graduated from the high school and rendered the case a moot point.
The panel of four circuit court judges in today’s hearing will review the case before making a decision on advancing the suit to trial in the coming months.
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